Five finalists will compete for first place in the 2024 Sheffield Hallam University Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition final taking place as part of the Thriving Together as PGRs event. Please register your attendance via MS Forms.

Meet the Finalists

Amy Grace, Social and Economic Research Institute

Locked in: An exploration of high consumption in the UK

Why is it so hard to consume less?

Human activity has caused global warming, however current techno-centric approaches to reduce emissions will not limit temperature rise to the 1.5° target.

Research shows 60% of emissions can be attributed to household consumption, with 50% of emissions being from the top 10% of income households. Understanding high consumption lifestyles of the wealthiest, and the opportunities to adopt lower impact alternatives, offers a pathway to keep emissions within safe planetary boundaries.

Beyond income, a complex picture of individual, psychological, social and cultural influences drive and lock-in high consumption lifestyles. However, limited knowledge on the interplay of these, and how they are activated when ‘doing’ consumption, restricts effective interventions and systemic change. This research aims to understand what actively influences experiences of consumption and the relationships between these drivers, mapping how and why high consumers choose whether to buy, or not to buy.

Brighton Karimakwenda, Health Research Institute

Exploring the development of research culture within the Operating Department Practice profession

Operating Department Practitioners (ODPs) form a vital part of the Allied Health Professions (AHPs) workforce, having transitioned to degree-level practitioners in alignment with the other 14 AHPs, as recognised by the Chief AHP Officer. Despite being the third largest workforce in the National Health Service (NHS), there’s a notable lack of focus on ODP’s research capacity and culture. Research in healthcare holds significant potential to enhance patient care and organisational efficiency. Recognizing this, NHS England has produced the AHP research and innovation strategy to support research capacity building within AHPs. However, a scoping review conducted by the researcher unveiled a gap in knowledge, with limited insights specifically regarding ODPs.

To address this gap, my research aims to gather perspectives from key stakeholders and practice managers in a qualitative description study. These insights will lay the groundwork for advancing ODPs’ research engagement and fostering a culture of research within the profession.

Charlotte Nutting, Health Research Institute

Optimising Radiotherapy experiences when people have an Intellectual Disability and Cancer 

In England it is estimated 2% of the population have an Intellectual Disability, and in Australia the estimate is 1.8%. People with Intellectual Disabilities have abilities, strengths and skills but may experience significant challenges understanding new and complex information and may require support in some or many aspects of their lives. Cancer is one of the main underlying causes of death in people who have an Intellectual Disability and cancer related inequalities are evident. A scoping review highlighted a significant evidence gap about the radiotherapy experiences of adults who have an Intellectual Disability and cancer, and the experiences of family members, paid carers and healthcare professionals.

My research uses interviews to explore Radiotherapy decision making, treatment and post-treatment from the perspectives of multiple stakeholder groups in England and Australia. Study findings will enable the development of a framework to optimise Radiotherapy that involves people who have an Intellectual Disability and cancer.

Chinenye Okonkwo, Industry and Innovation Research Institute

Unravelling Parkinson’s disease: The amyloid connection

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder affecting a specific area of the brain called the Substantia Nigra, resulting in movement difficulty, memory loss, loss of impulse control, depression and much more. The disease affects approximately 10 million people globally, impacting individuals of all ages and has no cure. The cause of Parkinson’s disease is unknown; however, neurodegeneration is accompanied by amyloid formation. These amyloids are Protein clumps of unknown function, although associated with disease progression.

My research investigates the interaction of the brain cells with these amyloids from the point of their introduction into the cell till degeneration occurs to understand how they are implicated in Parkinson’s disease and proffer curative treatment options.

Emma Sadler, Social and Economic Research Institute

Paradigms, Policy and Practice: Experiences of Neurodiversity in Education

Up to 1 in 7 people are thought to be neurodivergent (that is, having a cognitive difference which impacts how they think and experience the world). I have spent the past 12 years of my teaching career, working with neurodivergent school pupils and I am acutely aware that they are not understood well enough. They are under constant pressure to fit in and the support or intervention that is put in place to help them fit in often simply excludes them further. This has consequences for their educational experience as well as impacting wellbeing.

My research uses ethnography to explore this topic. I have immersed myself in my school community from a new perspective in order to examine and understand the daily lives of pupils and staff, uncovering how neurodivergent experiences are shaped by the beliefs, policies and practices of a school.